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Notes to Myself and My Other Privileged Friends.

Here are some things that I haven’t been able to deny, when I check in with myself;

I was lying in bed unable to sleep

And I remembered

The intro of this song

My friend DJ Zakham used to play at an underground party,

called Mutiny in New York City;


I know, it’s questionable, my Hindi,

I remember asking my dad, “Papi, what does that mean”?

See what’s unique about my perspective

As a privileged person in India

Is that in my birth country my upbringing, was not;

Here I am Hindu, and in many ways a part of the majority,

But there I was first generation, one of the first and only Indians in the town I was raised in;

Also, I grew up with rampant racism,

So, at parties like Mutiny

People like me

Othered Unaccepted

Heart-opened we’d gather,

Asians, South Asians, Jamaicans, Haitians!

We’d dance at venues like the ‘frying pan’ – in celebration of radical expression,

We had an obligation – to be so loud with our fringe identities,

Then, phrases like holding space or creating space,

Those phrases didn’t exist

We were smack in the middle of times

Trying to prove that who we were

Was legitimate!

Papi replied:

“Who brought you this freedom?”

Since, I have become a loving participating

Citizen of India,

I have learnt some hard truths,

One that just won’t erase itself

From my memory;

I lived in a village where rents were lower

We often would not have water,

Mind you! I lived in one of the wealthiest metros,

But often we were one of those without,

Electricity, Running water,

One internet connection illegally split between every single neighbor;

So, what was the answer?

When I was seeking a way, to shower and do the dishes,

Amidst the schedule of a manic multi-tasker;

To Install an illegal pump,

To make sure my tank is filled, before the rest of the town’s

Poor people’s tanks were filled,

was the solution,

Suggested to me not only by the plumber!

But also surrounding good Samaritan folks in the society!

Why? Coz that’s what everyone does

Are there any other options?

None that won’t take you year upon year to tackle

And the government doesn’t really have a history of actually listening to its people!

So, thoughts like ‘greater good’-are not really a part of our patterns,

No! We figure out what solves things for us!

Forget about causing a ruckus-and healing the root of the issue,

A. No, No, that’ll take too long!

B. It’ll probably never happen because

C. The ones who ought to have civic responsibility

Are too busy being wealthy o care!

And often it seems too large to be able to systematically breakdown

And improve,

So, what’s the use?

I know I paid for the pump and I got on with my life

And now for the first time I look back

And now I, regret it;


Who gave me this freedom?

How much can we fight? What is the real destination?

Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen brilliant artists and innovators

Vent their frustrations, about the end goal just being

To leave this country behind!

Because it doesn’t get any better and

An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind!

So, what have been our solutions?

What possible endeavor,

Could heal, could appeal,

To transforming this collective consciousness,

Acquire enough wealth to bypass archaic laws that ought to be revised!


Because that has been the word from the wise!

When we raise our voices,

They shut down our webs-the internet is

The nuclear warfare of the youth!

We communicate to each other, Our truths;

This way, we bypass the censor boards that control what we watch,

This way, we access each other with our hunger to live,

In a nation that is


Where we are welcomed for

Our Diversity


If only we knew the richness of our country’s history!

But here, we are now,

It is a critical time,

And we are being treated like having a voice is committing a crime;

So, we are obligated-to ask-that pivotal question!

Do we want to live in a world, 

Where freedoms only go to those who can afford them?

Or can we be a people who care for our brethren?

Diving to the foundations,

The beauty of the preamble of India’s constitution,


“We, The people of India

Having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a

Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic;

And to secure for each of its citizens,

Justice – Economic and Political,

Liberty of Thought, Belief and Worship,

Equality, of status, and of opportunity,

And to promote among them all,


Assuring the dignity of the individual,

And the unity and integrity of the nation”;



Monica Dogra is a musician, actress and writer based in the U.S. and India. She holds a Bachelors in Music from New York University and is the co-founder of the electronic rock band/duo Shaa’ir+Func. She has released 6 albums so far proving her mettle both as a singer and writer/poet. Although, she had first appeared in a minor role in the 2008 movie Rock On, she made her Bollywood debut in a leading role in the 2011 movie Dhobi Ghat and has since worked in 4 other feature films as well as a Netflix Series titled What Are The Odds.

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